The retrospective national bibliography has been building in the Hungarian National Library for several decades. The outcome of the work has earned international acclaim since not only bibliographic processing but recording the history of each edition is accomplished. We keep an inventory on copy data aswell.
The School of Hungarian Literature History, within the Faculty of Arts of the University of Szeged, together with the Central Library of the University and the Institute of History of European Civilisation organized a joint research that has been going on for two decades now. The research aims at uncovering the reading habits of the population of the Carpathian basin in the 16-17 century. In the project's initial phase we seeked for all the sources among previously published studies and visited archives of former territories of Hungary that may contain information on habits of book collecting. The findings are continously published in a beautiful series.
As a result of this research program a new database system is created in order to study history of Hungarian civilisation in the 16-17 century. Databases contain findings of basic researches characterized by a quantity approach. This approach is seldom applied in similar researches. Moreover, the multimedia display of the significant portion of the corpus is exceptional (books, bindings, illustrations).
Once the work is done, databases would explain questions such as what kind of books were read and collected by whom and when in the Carpathian basin in the 16-17 century. The system could provide links to the most important archival sources, and illustrations of the most significant volumes could be displayed too. The databases could be extremely useful in interdiscplinary sciences. Finally, we would be able to understand how European international trends spread throughout the Carpathian basin in the two-hundred-year period following the Reformation.
The described project can satisfy multiple needs ranging from the researchers' field to queries of high school students.
Databases on book history
The overall aim of the project is to reconstruct what books existed in the Carpathian basin during the 16-17 century. The compilation of the reading material is entitled Old Hungarian Prints: a Virtual Library.
Within the frame of the project we intend to digitise the 16-17 century national bibliography. The database encompasses three parts:
The old book catalogue of the national library serves as a background database. The 16 century portion of the records have already been processed. The catalogue of antiques contains two parts:
Databases on history of reading
A new SQL database is already being built on the grounds of the past twenty years' researches that covers the entire Hungarian reading culture for the period of 1526-1750. When the work is accomplished, the databank would contain:
All the four databases would be searched with SQL and would be linked to each other with the help of hypertext.
3D reconstruction of the Zrínyi library
Three-dimensional virtual displays are very widespread and popular in entertaining computer programs. The need has arisen to use 3D templates in network environments too. In the 3D world users can discover the space by following links that join virtual places with "traditional" electronic documents, pictures and texts.
Experts have already recontrusted Miklós Zrínyi's (1620-1664) original library that was moved to Zagreb. The poet's library would be the first among old libraries that comes to virtual life again.
Miklós Zrínyi's outstanding personality and the enermous baroque knowledge he possessed makes his library the era's most important one. Quite exceptionally, researchers are now able to identify almost 100 percent of the books in his collection, they even give good estimation on placing.
With 3D technology the library that was ceased to exist a long time ago would be recreated in the network environment. Also, data on the content of the books and visual information would also be provided.
Virtual volumes could be paired with covers and descriptions, the image of the library could be supplemented with basic symbols that had significant meanings at that time. The network based virtual reconstruction of the library could be an example for remodeling collections that were distroyed over the centuries. The project could be a methodological pilot scheme for reconstructing the future virtual Bibliotheca Corviniana.